NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2017

Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris scores the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins.

 Game recaps, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators clinched a playoff spot by downing the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Kyle Turris’ shootout goal. With the win, the Sens (96 points) moved ahead of the Bruins by one point into second place in the Atlantic Division. They were also playing without captain Erik Karlsson, who sat out with a foot injury.  

The Bruins were playing without left wing Brad Marchand, who received a two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin. Bruins blueliner Torey Krug left the game with a suspected knee injury

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand will be able to return to the Bruins for their playoff opener next week. Now that he’s among the league’s top players, the department of player safety seems reluctant to levy stiffer punishment against him. Last January, he received a $10,000 fine for a slew-foot trip on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall. If Marchand were a lesser player, he probably would’ve received 10 games for his latest infraction. All this does is reinforce the notion that there’s a different level of punishment for the league’s stars compared to everyone else. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs failed to secure a postseason berth, falling 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brayden Point scored twice and Nikita Kucherov potted the winning goal for the Lightning (90 points), who move within three of the Leafs for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bolts will play their final two games of the regular season without captain Steven Stamkos, who’s still not ready to return to action from a knee injury that’s sidelined him since November. 

The New York Islanders also moved within three points of the Leafs with a 3-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves for the win. The game also marked the return of Hurricanes winger Bryan Bickell since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last November. 

Nick Bonino scored a goal and collected two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins thumped the New Jersey Devils 7-4. The Pens (111 points) secured second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs. 

Jacob Trouba scored twice, Bryan Little netted four points and Eric Comrie had a 35-save victory in his NHL debut to give the Winnipeg Jets a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the Jets’ sixth straight win. 

The Minnesota Wild matched their franchise record for wins (48) and points (104) by downing the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. The Wild have secured second spot in the Central Division. 

John Gibson turned in a 37-save shutout effort as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, putting them on the verge of securing their fifth straight Pacific Division title. Earlier in the day, however, the Ducks learned defenseman Cam Fowler (knee injury) is sidelined two to six weeks

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler’s absence will be keenly felt. He’s been their best defenseman this season and leaves a significant void on their blueline. 

Milan Lucic had a hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Oilers (99 points) move ahead of the Sharks by two points for second in the Pacific Division. 

Jaden Schwartz netted three points as the St.Louis Blues doubled up the Florida Panthers 6-3. The Blues (95 points) remain one point ahead of the Nashville Predators for third in the Central Division. The Blues also announced forward Vladimir Sobotka will return after spending three seasons in the KHL as he signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract extension

Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith each scored twice as the Predators crushed the Dallas Stars 7-3. Arvidsson also reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. 

John Gillies made 27 saves in his NHL debut as the Calgary Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 to maintain their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Radim Vrbata scored twice as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. 












NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2016

Is Jacob Trouba trying to "push around" Winnipeg Jets management with his trade request?

Is Jacob Trouba trying to “push around” Winnipeg Jets management with his trade request?

Latest on Jacob Trouba, Vladimir Sobotka, the Boston Bruins and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET:  Mark Spector believes the Winnipeg Jets can’t afford to let restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba push them around, feeling it would set a bad precedent that could allow other players to follow his example. Trouba recently made a trade request on the basis of his preference to play top-four minutes on the right side of the Jets blueline.

Spector suggest Trouba’s preference could make it difficult for the Jets to find a club willing to take on a player “who is going to quit as soon there is an imbalance of right- to left-shot defencemen.” He also doubts the Jets will get a fair return for Trouba before the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him and the blueliner’s agent knows this.

Spector goes on to suggest that moving Trouba could further hurt Winnipeg as a preferred destination for NHL players.  Spector predicts the Jets “will not trade Trouba before Dec. 1, and the player will sign a one-year deal under the provision that (Jets GM Kevin) Cheveldayoff seeks a trade. It’s a lose-lose, because now neither side is invested in each other.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the other hand, is it really worthwhile to a player on the roster who really doesn’t want to be there? Why re-sign a potential dressing-room cancer? Why keep a player who could set a bad example for the other young players on the roster? Signing Trouba to a one-year contract only ensures this issue becomes an unnecessary distraction for him, management and the other Jets players.  

Even if Cheveldayoff can’t find a suitable return by Dec.1, he could force Trouba to sit out the season and wait until next summer for a better deal. As for the opinion that some players don’t want to be in Winnipeg, the recent re-signings of Dustin Byfuglien, Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault punches holes in that theory.

CSNNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty was asked if the Boston Bruins giving defenseman Christian Ehrhoff a professional tryout means they’re not in on Jacob Trouba. He believes it’s a sign the Bruins will use every available outlet to improve their blueline. When asked if the Bruins might pursue a right-handed shot such as David Savard of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Haggerty believes they could pursue a bigger name than Savard, though he doesn’t fully rule out that possibility. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Ehrhoff plays well for the Bruins on his PTO, I believe they’ll sign him to an affordable one-year deal. Even then, I think they’ll monitor the Trouba situation. Given the lack of experienced depth on the Blue Jackets blueline, I don’t see them moving Savard. 

ESPN.COM’S Pierre LeBrun reports the following on Twitter regarding Vladimir Sobotka: “Yakupov deal doesn’t necessarily close the door on Sobotka returning to Blues from KHL but reality is, Blues not counting on that return.”

NBC SPORTS: Jame’s O’Brien cites TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reporting the NHL’s 2016-17 trade deadline will be held on March 1, 2017. That conflicts with earlier wording claiming the deadline would be Feb. 28. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lavoie is a reliable source. If he says the deadline is March 1, I take him at his word. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2016

Nashville Predators extend contract of head coach Peter Laviolette.

Nashville Predators extend contract of head coach Peter Laviolette.

Predators re-sign coach Peter Laviolette, Blackhawks could split up Patrick Kane & Artemi Panarin & more in your NHL morning headlines.

For all of last night’s preseason scores, head to NHL.com

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators announced Saturday they’ve extended the contract of head coach Peter Laviolette by two years, stretching through 2020-21. Since joining the Predators in 2014, the Predators have advanced to the playoffs twice while significantly improving their offensive performance. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Predators record over the last two seasons, it’s not surprising they extended Laviolette’s contract. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville might consider splitting up forwards Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin to ensure more offensive balance through the lineup. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quenneville didn’t say that was definitely going to happen or that it’s a permanent thing, only that it’s something he’s looking at for training camp. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild’s top line to open this season could consist of left wing Zach Parise, center Eric Staal and right wing Charlie Coyle. 

STLTODAY.COM:  The St. Louis Blues are still hopeful forward Vladimir Sobotka can find a way to get out of his KHL contract for the upcoming season. The Blues aren’t allowed to buy out any part of his KHL deal. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER:  Pittsburgh Penguins winger Carl Hagelin sold his Newport Beach house for $1.91 million. 

CSN BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier will be sidelined four weeks by mononucleosis. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2016

Team Canada goalie Carey Price stops Team Europe's Andrej Sekera's breakaway in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey Final.

Team Canada goalie Carey Price stops Team Europe’s Andrej Sekera’s breakaway in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey Final.

Canada wins first game of World Cup of Hockey final, updates on Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Sobotka and more in this morning’s NHL headlines. 

NHL.COM: Carey Price made 32 saves backstopping Team Canada to a lackluster 3-1 victory over Team Europe in the opening game of the best-of-three final of the World Cup of Hockey. Brad Marchand, Steven Stamkos and Patrick Bergeron scored for the Canadians, while Tomas Tatar tallied for the Europeans, who showed no sign of rolling over against Team Canada in this series 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was Team Canada’s worst game of the tournament. They were complacent and often outplayed by a hardworking Team Europe. If not for Price, this game could’ve had a different ending.

The Canadians seemed to take the Europeans too lightly, especially after taking a 2-0 lead into the second period. The result was a sloppy performance that, against a stronger opponent, could’ve proven costly. They’ll need a much better effort in Game 2 on Thursday if they hope to wrap up this tournament as champions.

Give full marks to Team Europe for a solid outing in a losing cause. They may be underdogs, but they’re playing like they believe they can win. Having reached this stage of the tournament, they deserve a full measure of respect from the Canadians.

ESPN.COM: The World Cup of Hockey is here to stay, but there could be some changes to the format for future tournaments. 

YAHOO SPORTS:  The chances of NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea appear to be dwindling. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly cast doubt on progress being made in negotiations with the International Ice Hockey Federation in securing the financial backing the NHL seeks from the International Olympic Committee to participate in those Games.

As for an individual player, such as Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, participating in the Olympics if the NHL doesn’t take part, Daly said that will be up to that player’s team.  He also isn’t ruling out NHL participation in future Winter Olympics. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears location of the Winter Olympics is more of a concern to the NHL than funding from the IOC. As Greg Wyshynski (the author of the above piece) points out, the league doesn’t appear interested in going to South Korea, but could participate in future Games in more fertile hockey markets, or potential ones such as China, where the 2022 Games will be held. If the 2018 Games were being held in North America, the NHL would probably sing a different tune. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks sophomore winger Artemi Panarin is reportedly seeking a six-year contract extension worth $6 million per season. That could be a problem for the cap-strapped Blackhawks, who already have eight players carrying cap hit of $4 million or more. GM Stan Bowman expressed his belief the two sides can get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowman sounds like he’ll evaluate Panarin’s performance over the course of this season before hammering out a deal with him. It’ll also depend upon how the club performs this season and if he can shed some salary before next season. 

STLTODAY.COM:  Forward Vladimir Sobotka won’t be returning to the St. Louis Blues after all. It’ll cost him around $2.68 million of his $4 million salary with Avangard Omsk to buy out the final year of his KHL contract. He’s schedule to make $2.7 million this season with the Blues, meaning he’d be playing this season for nothing if he returns to honor the one-year contract he has with St. Louis.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And that’s why it’s so important to read the fine print in your player contract, or at least ensure your agent has. 

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames have reportedly started contract extension talks with goaltender Brian Elliott. 

TSN: Wayne Gretzky is returning to the NHL in an ambassador role for its centennial season.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 19, 2016

Russian captain Alex Ovechkin dispute his disallowed goal against Team Sweden in World Cup of Hockey play.

Russian captain Alex Ovechkin dispute his disallowed goal against Team Sweden in World Cup of Hockey play.

 World Cup of Hockey game updates, Team USA face “must-win” situation & more in your NHL morning headlines. 

NHL.COM:  A potential game-tying goal by Team Russia’s Alex Ovechkin with seven seconds remaining in the third period was waved off upon review as Team Sweden held on for a 2-1 victory in World Cup of Hockey preliminary round play. Ovechkin, who scored Russia’s only goal, had his second goal overturned when video review revealed he knocked the puck into the Swedish goal with his hand. Ovechkin claimed the puck struck his stick after he batted it down with his hand before entering the net. 

The Swedes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Gabe Landeskog and Victor Hedman. Ovechkin got the Russians within one at 19:27 of the third. Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom, filling in for a sidelined Henrik Lundqvist (flu), made 27 saves for the win. 

Team North America got goals from Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon as they cruised to a 4-1 win over Team Finland. The North Americans nearly had four more as Finnish goalie Pekka Rinne struggled between the pipes. One shot struck the goalpost, two near-goals were swept away by his defense and a goal was waived off due to goalie interference. 

NEW YORK POST: If Team Europe defeats the Czech Republic this afternoon and Team USA loses to Team Canada on Tuesday, the Americans will be eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey. Team USA suffered a 3-0 upset loss to Team Europe during its preliminary round opener on Saturday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The American management is coming under criticism for the composition of the roster, relying too much on physical players at the expense of team speed. They’re also being criticized for naming John Tortorella as head coach, who faced second-guessing for his decision to scratch big offensive blueliner Dustin Byfuglien from the lineup against Team Europe. If the Americans are eliminated tomorrow, expect significant changes in the process of selecting management, coaches and players for future Team USA pro rosters. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  As former Sabres forward Thomas Vanek faces a career crossroads, he’s enjoying his opportunity to play for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey. He’s also looking forward to joining the Detroit Red Wings this season. Bought out by the Minnesota Wild in June, Vanek signed a one-year contract with the Wings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vanek doesn’t significantly improve this season, his NHL playing days will be over. 

NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa is listed as day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury skating for Team Czech Republic in his 6-0 loss to Team Canada on Saturday. 

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH:  A potential impasse in Vladimir Sobotka’s efforts to buy his way out of his KHL contract could prevent him from rejoining the Blues this season. Sobotka spent the last two seasons playing for Avangard Omsk, who reportedly require a fee from him before agreeing to a buyout. 

THE DENVER POST:  Colorado Avalanche prospect forward Mika Rantanen will miss the next two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 9, 2016

Nathan MacKinnon scores one of his two goals in Team North America's 4-0 win over Team Europe in World Cup of Hockey pretournament play.

Nathan MacKinnon scores one of his two goals in Team North America’s 4-0 win over Team Europe in World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament play.

 World Cup of Hockey updates, Patrick Roy talks about leaving the Avalanche, Paul Gaustad retires & more in your NHL morning headlines. 

NHL.COM:  In World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament action, Finland edged Sweden 3-2 on an overtime goal by Olli Maatta, Evgeny Dadonov’s goal held up as the winner as Russia nipped the Czech Republic 4-3 and Nathan MacKinnon scored twice to lead Team North America to a 4-0 victory over Team Europe. 

ESPN.COM:  Team North America also named Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid their team captain, with Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere as his alternates. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE:  Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa suffered an undisclosed injury during Team Europe’s 4-0 loss to Team North America. He missed the entire third period and following the game went for x-rays. The injury isn’t serious and he’s expected to play in Team Europe’s next game.

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka suffered an apparent shoulder injury playing for the Czech Republic in their 4-3 loss to Team Russia on Thursday. It’s reportedly a clavicle injury but might not be serious. He could play in the Czechs’ next pre-tournament game on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If injuries start mounting during this tournament, it could dampen the enthusiasm of NHL owners and general managers to allow their best players to take part in future World Cup of Hockey contests. 

TSN: Former Colorado Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy claims disagreements over “the types of players and stuff like that” and “people working for the team” were behind his decision to abruptly resign last month. Roy also denied a rumor claiming the Avs decision not to pursue free agent Alexander Radulov, who played for him during their days with the Quebec Remparts, was a reason for stepping down. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might also be a coincidence that Roy’s resignation came within two weeks of the club’s decision to re-sign defenseman Tyson Barrie to a long-term contract. Still, I’d put more credence into that speculation than that stuff about Roy having his nose out of joint because the Avs passed up a chance to sign Radulov. 

THE TENNESSEAN: After 12 NHL seasons and 727 games, center Paul Gaustad announced his retirement on Thursday. In nearly seven seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and almost five with the Nashville Predators, the 34-year-old netted 231 points and was renowned for his faceoff and defensive skills. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Forward Devin Setoguchi is opening up over the drug and alcohol abuse that nearly derailed his playing career. Having received treatment for his addictions, Setoguchi is on a PTO with the Los Angeles Kings in hopes of getting his NHL career back on track. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is contemplating retirement if he doesn’t land another NHL job. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM:  The Florida Panthers signed former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Adam Pardy and former Minnesota Wild forward Justin Fontaine to professional tryout offers. 

NBC SPORTS: Former Carolina Hurricanes forward Zach Boychuk accepted a PTO with the Arizona Coyotes. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens tickets for 2016-17 go on sale Saturday.